Frank Ocean “Is Again Interested In More Durational Bodies Of Work” Per Cryptic Message On Back Of Blonded Posters
After waiting four years between Channel Orange and the dual gift of Endless and Blonde, Frank Ocean fans have now spent six and a half years on the lookout for a new album. It looked like he might be moving in that direction in 2019, when he released a string of singles and hosted a series of club nights in New York. That phase came and went, and Ocean partisans haven’t had much hope of any substantial creative output from the man beyond luxury cock rings and such. But now that Ocean’s long-delayed Coachella set is seemingly going to happen, he’s also putting vague messages out into the world gesturing at the idea of a new full-length release.
On the back of posters mailed out in the latest Blonded merch sale, there’s a somewhat cryptic message explaining what happened with that 2019 campaign, which yielded such singles as “DHL” and “In My Room.” It involves a photo series with Succession actor Jeremy Strong playing the part of a record exec (hence the Jeremy Strong merch included in the latest Blonded drop) and the prospect of Ocean’s PrEP+ club nights expanding into a series of raves around the world, plans that were apparently sidelined by the pandemic. The message concludes, “The Recording Artist has since changed his mind about the singles model, and is again more interested in durational bodies of work.” This is not exactly an album announcement, but as the blonded.blog Twitter account asserts, it’s “as close to an album announcement as we’ll ever get from Frank Ocean.”
Here’s the full message:
In the summer of 2019, Blonded produced a photo series shot on Thursday, August 8, 2019, by photographer Michael Marcelle. The photo series follows the story of a fictitious Recording Artist as he navigates the radio system.
In one scene the actor Jeremy Strong plays a Chairman of a major record label. On the walls: a clock, two framed records. The Chairman is flanked by another figure. Both are dressed in suits, wearing ties, and are positioned behind a long boardroom table. They are opposite a shadowed figure in the foreground — the Recording Artist — whose subjectivity the viewer is to inhabit.
The Recording Artist attempts to explain to the major music label the singles distribution model as opposed to the long-form album model. The Recording Artist believes the latter to be outdated, and that releasing singles is more suited to modern consumption habits where people curate their own playlists which are then shared within private circles. The meeting does not appear to be productive.
The photo series coincided with the planning of three Blonded live radio events that year. They were held on three Thursday nights towards the end of 2019, in the basement of the Knockdown Center in Queens, New York. On October 19th, 24th, and the 31st, 2019, doors opened at 10PM. A custom nightclub with vintage lighting fixtures was installed for the duration of each party.
On the first night, Bouffant Bouffant played at 10:15PM, followed by Justice at midnight, Sango at 1:15AM and Sherelle at 2:30AM. Leeon, Arca, Papi Juice, Shyboi, Joey LaBeija, Last Japan, and DJ Heather played sets on subsequent nights.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, these events were intended to grow from small club events to larger raves across the world.
The Recording Artist has since changed his mind about the singles model, and is again interested in more durational bodies of work.